Monday, April 30, 2018

Bees are terrifying

Among all the books about beekeeping you can find out there, I feel one point isn't stressed enough: bees are fucking terrifying. It's a difficult point to get your head around, but an important one: would you invite bees to a dinner party? No, because they're fucking terrifying. Would you let them do babysitting for you? Again, no. Terrifying. But here I am in my suburban house with a suburban backyard with a box full of terrifying insects of murderous death a mere five metres or so from here. It's insane. I'm insane. How did things get to this point?

I really feel there could be room in the marketplace for a practical beekeeping book based on this theme, motivating and inspiring new beekeepers in their hobby. This prospective book could cover the practicalities and the history of beekeeping, covering the terrifyingness of bees in comprehensive detail.

Considering the science of the matter, for instance, I find that bees are insects, that glamorous movie star of the animal kingdom. Let's review a few of the films that insects have appeared in: The Fly, in which a man turns into a disgusting and horrifying gigantic beast. The Swarm, in which killer bees go about being bees that kill. On the other hand, who trusts Hollywood? Let's consider literature instead: there's Kafka's Metamorphosis, in which a man turns into a cockroach, to his own terror and disgust.

Literature gives us the example of many famous beekeepers whom we can emulate. One such was Sylvia Plath, who wrote an excited poem about first receiving bees, containing such resonant lines as

I would say it was the coffin of a midget


I lay my ear to furious Latin. 
I am not a Caesar. 
I have simply ordered a box of maniacs. 
They can be sent back. 
They can die, I need feed them nothing, I am the owner. 

I wonder how hungry they are. 
I wonder if they would forget me 
If I just undid the locks and stood back and turned into a tree. 
There is the laburnum, its blond colonnades, 
And the petticoats of the cherry.

Sylvia Plath was also insane and killed herself shortly thereafter.

And we haven't even considered the basics of bee sex (violent, and explosive, resulting in the deaths of several drones and one lifelong egg laying slave), the stinging mechanism (kamikaze warfare by bloodthirsty warriors who would be quite satisfied by your death), and so much more.

In conclusion, Bees Are Fucking Terrifying Creatures of Slaughter And Death or maybe it's just that me and the Baron recently did a honey harvest and are still traumatised by it. Who knows.

Image result for bee
Fig 1: Cthulhu in insect form 


Pupuk Organik Cair Terbaik untuk Padi said...

haha, you can't harvest honey without profesionalism. its dangerous

Steve said...

I had quite a few bee stings as a child, most often by accidentally stepping on the them when walking barefoot on flowering clover, which we used to get a lot of on our footpath. But I used to bother them sometimes too, by catching them in a jar to enable closer observation. Insect catching as a kid's activity used to be more popular than it is now, it seems. Or maybe children are just more sensible now.

Have I told you this before? I suspect I have.

Anyway, the stings as a child used to be painful, but no big swelling involved. Mum used to put "laundry blue" (the type that was in a solid block form, tied up in cloth, and used in the final rinse for white sheets) on the bite. God I'm starting to feel old - not only because I fear I'm repeating a boring story, but also when I have to explain once common laundry products that probably don't exist anymore.

Fast forward to my last bee sting - in my 20's I think - it was on my arm and came out of the blue - I wasn't harassing bees anymore, honest. But my forearm went all swollen in a bit of a mini Popeye way, and it was hot and painful for about a day. I think I went to the doctor and was told yes, you can develop an allergy to them and I had better be careful the next time I get bitten could be worse.

Which is a bit of a worry. However, haven't been bitten since.

Steve said...

Stung, not bitten.

TimT said...

Steve, I wouldn't take that as evidence of allergy on its own. Every sting is different, and over the course of a beekeeping season reactions to stings can vary greatly. Stings on belly and feet can have very little effect because there's a lot of fat there: the venom disperses. Stings on other places like the forehead can have dramatic effects because there's very little fat there.

Crucially, an allergic reaction is considered one that appears not in the area of the sting. If you get stung in the arm and your face swells? That's an allergic reaction! But - a sting in the arm with swelling all up and down the arm is still localised. Your reaction may just be in the normal range of variability.

Steve said...

I see. Well, good to know I might not die as a result of another accidental bee sting.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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